In a recent article, Bloomberg questions whether Tesla CEO Elon Musk has forgotten about the company’s “Gigafactory 2” based in Buffalo, New York. After describing the factory — built with $750 million of taxpayer funds — as looking like an “empty Walmart Supercenter,” the report reveals that Tesla walled off areas of the plant to hide the full extent of its idled production lines.
In 2016, construction on Tesla’s Gigafactory 2 was completed at its location in Buffalo, New York. Since then, it appears that the factory has not done very much despite costing New York taxpayers $750 million to fund the construction of the production plant. In an article titled “Did Elon Musk Forget About Buffalo?” Bloomberg takes a look inside the Tesla facility. Bloomberg states:
Tesla has presented the Buffalo operation as a sort of sequel to the Gigafactory, the company’s enormous battery plant near Reno, Nev. But where that factory employs more than 7,000 people and has helped Musk transform Tesla into a major automotive manufacturer, large portions of Gigafactory 2, as this place is known, resemble an empty Walmart Supercenter. Tesla was supposed to be operating multiple production lines by now. Only one is set up, and it’s not yet fully automated. A mess of wooden crates filled with unused manufacturing equipment sits nearby.
Tesla has reportedly even taken to erecting walls inside the Buffalo plant to prevent journalists from seeing the full extent of idled machinery sitting on the factory floor:
For the factory tour Tesla gave Bloomberg Businessweek in mid-November, a knowledgeable source says the company erected a wall inside the building to block much of its idle machinery from view. Tesla says certain parts of the factory contain confidential operations.
It would seem that many are growing tired of Musk’s usual gameplan of using taxpayer money to fund his various ventures and facilities. But Musk appears to have one ardent defender in the form of Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo:
Although Tesla’s main patron, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, easily won reelection, his opponents have pointed to the Gigafactory 2 deal as a sign of his coziness with moneyed interests. Raymond Walter, a Republican in the New York State Assembly who lost his own reelection bid, says he’s concerned the state has too many “eggs in the Tesla basket, which doesn’t seem like a very strong basket at this point.” When Walter toured the factory in March, he recalls, “it was mostly empty. I would say 10 percent to 15 percent of the floor was being utilized for production. It was not an impressive use of $750 million in taxpayer funds.”
Tesla also appears to have failed on their promise to bring more jobs to the area, despite holding job fairs and promising the employment of over a thousand workers, the factory has failed to live up to local resident’s hopes:
On the other side of the country, workers at the Buffalo Gigafactory were wondering whether it would ever mass-produce anything. From late 2016, when Tesla started holding job fairs at local schools and churches, to the fall of 2017, according to more than a half-dozen former employees, the factory was basically a ghost town, a smattering of people occupying what felt like a chain of airplane hangars. At some points, thousands of massive crates of unused machinery crowded the floors. Tesla declined to comment on the number of crates; the company says there were hundreds of employees in the facility by late 2017.
Read the full article in Bloomberg here.